Published on February 18, 2021  
Smyth Taylor

Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School is pleased to announce the formation of a new center for women pursuing Christian ministry. The Center for Women in Ministry at Beeson exists to encourage and equip women called to Christian ministry and to serve as a resource for the church of Jesus Christ for the edification of the church and for the thriving of women in ministry.

The center will host its first event, a worship service and dessert social, on March 8 in conjunction with International Women’s Day. This special worship service will feature readings from the women represented in Hodges Chapel, celebrating their witness for Jesus Christ and their contributions to the church. This will be a time of remembrance, celebration, encouragement and fellowship, led by and for the women of Beeson Divinity.

Later this year, the new center will host a small conference for female alumni in conjunction with the school’s annual alumni conference.

In its initial stage, the center’s goal is to listen to its two primary constituents, female students and alumnae, gathering information from them that will inform its work going forward. Additionally, it is partnering with the school’s Women’s Theological Colloquium, led by faculty member Stefana Dan Laing, this spring to provide more events to its female students.

As the center grows, it plans to expand its services to Samford undergraduate women called to ministry, women in ministry not connected to Beeson, and churches and church leaders. This new center aims to fulfill its mission by providing strategic support in the key areas of Christian discipleship, placement, resources, mentoring, networking, events, research and consultation.

“Beeson has welcomed female students ever since its founding,” said Beeson’s Dean Douglas A. Sweeney. “They come from many different evangelical Protestant denominations with different ways of making use of the gifts God has given to its female members with interests in public ministry. We are eager to work with all those the Lord brings our way, preparing them to serve the church with biblical fidelity, theological wisdom, strong ministry skills, and deep love for God's people."

The center will be led and directed by Beeson alumna and manager of marketing and communication Kristen Padilla, who published a book with Zondervan Academic in 2018 for women discerning a vocation of Christian ministry titled, Now That I’m Called: A Guide for Women Discerning a Call to Ministry.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to lead the work of this new center,” said Padilla. “While there is a precedent for having a center dedicated to the thriving of women in ministry on university and seminary campuses, what makes our center unique is its vision, the various constituents we seek to serve, and the services we hope to offer. I look forward to working with partners at Beeson and on Samford’s campus and with friends who share our vision so that women called to Christian ministry can live out their callings in faithful service to Jesus Christ.”

The Center for Women in Ministry at Beeson has a 16-member advisory board, which meets twice a year to provide guidance and support.

Beeson Divinity School is an interdenominational, evangelical, Protestant seminary whose mission is to prepare God-called persons to serve as ministers in the church of Jesus Christ. Beeson is home to many centers, institutes, and initiatives, including the Global Center, The Institute of Anglican Studies, Lay Academy of Theology, The Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, and the Thriving Pastors Initiative.

Learn more about this new center on Beeson’s website or by listening to a conversation with Sweeney and Padilla on the Beeson podcast. Read about the center in The Alabama BaptistTo give to the work of The Center for Women in Ministry at Beeson, make a gift online.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.